2020 draws to a close this week and City face their final challenge of a testing year at Everton, where victory could lift the blues into second place in the league and just three points off top spot.
They face an Everton side that has been resurgent under Carol Ancelotti, who themselves currently occupy that second place in the Premier League table. They have surprised everyone this season and have proved the doubters wrong who didn’t think they would still be near the top at Christmas.
Everton’s turnaround has been remarkable. After 15 games last year, the Toffees were in 18th place in the Premier League, having won just four of their matches. They were 21 points off second place, so for them to sit in second place going into the match against the blues deserves a lot of respect.
Everton are on a good streak at the moment and are currently unbeaten in the Premier League in December, winning four of their five league matches and only dropping points in a 1-1 draw at Burnley at the beginning of the month. Since then, they have beaten Chelsea and Arsenal at Goodison Park (1-0 and 2-0 respectively), with a 2-0 win at Leicester sandwiched in between. Their only defeat was the quarter final of the League Cup where thy lost 2-0 to Manchester United, but they made up for that loss by beating Sheffield United 1-0 at Bramhall Lane.
Those results were welcome for the Toffees, who had endured a miserable November, with a 3-2 victory at Fulham the only points they picked up. Defeat at Newcastle was followed by a 3-1 home loss again to United. The next home game saw new boys Leeds leave Goodison with a 1-0 victory.
It was a huge reality check for the Toffees, after they had won five of their opening six games, with the only points dropped coming at home to city rivals Liverpool in mid-October.
Everton have scored 26 goals so far this season, but have conceded 19, giving them a goal difference of 7. The bulk of their goals, 15, have come at home, the third highest in the Premier League, but they have also conceded 11.
The main threat from the Toffees comes in the form of Dominic Calvert-Lewin. The striker has scored 14 goal from 18 games so far, hitting a total of 44 shots, the highest of the Everton team. This gives the England man a goal conversion ratio of 32% and a shot accuracy of 66%. If City are to have a chance of winning, they will need to keep Calvert-Lewin quiet.
Richarlison has scored 5 and Columbian striker James Rodriguez has three, however neither will be available for Monday’s match.
Rodriguez, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Lucas Digne lead the way on the assist chart, with all three having provided four goals each. Digne has the highest attempted pass rate of the three with 700, completing 594 with 106 incomplete. Sigurdsson has the highest pass accuracy with 86%, however the bigger danger statistically has only provided one goal. Michael Keane has played 19 games and attempted 1,333 passes, completing an amazing 1,187, meaning a pass accuracy of 89%.
Who’s In Charge?
Carlo Ancelotti has been in charge at Goodison Park since 21st December 2019 and is responsible for the Toffees remarkable turnaround. The Italian has previously managed Chelsea and was sacked by the Londoners after a 1-0 defeat at Everton!
Played For Both
City and Everton have a bot of a history with players and managers representing both clubs. Fabian Delph, Gareth Barry, John Stones and Joleon Lescott are some of the most recent to have swapped the blue of one for the other. Richard Dunne, Michael Ball, Terry Phelan and Sylvain Distain are other names that can be added to the Premier League era.
Prior to then, Wayne Clarke, Neil Pointon, Alan Harper, Adrian Heath and Peter Beagrie all played for the blues after a successful period at Everton, while Andy Hinchclife moved in the opposite direction. Ian Bishop had two spells at Maine Road but started his career at Goodison Park, and Peter Beardsley and Andrei Kanchelskis played for the blues on loan.
Going further back, Paul Power moved to Everton, while future City manager Joe Royle, Asa Hartford and Brian Kidd also all represented both clubs. Peter Reid played for and managed the club in the early 90’s, and Howard Kendall took the reigns at City in 1989 before leaving for a second spell at Everton. Alan Ball featured in the Everton midfield and would later manage City.